Conserving the Past:
Chess Life as a Historical Vehicle
Of Mid-Twentieth Century American Chess
by John S. Hilbert
|For many of us Chess Life is simply the magazine that we receive
along with the right to play in USCF rated tournaments. It may or may not
be read. It may have sixty pages an issue one year, or eighty pages the
next. And regardless of how we view the current magazine, very few of us
consider its earlier incarnations, or the significance of Chess Lifes
role in documenting the history of chess in the United States since its
first issue, dated September 5, 1946.
|And what can these early Chess Lifes provide us with? Just
how valuable are they in regard to our nations chess history? Examining
one year, taken mostly at random, say 1956it happens to be one of the
years for which I have all the issuescan give us some insight into this
newspaper as a historical artifact.
|For Chess Life did start its existence as a newspaper. While
the years saw changes in size and shape, as well as number of pages, by
1956 the voice of the United States Chess Federation appeared in a small
newspaper format, with pages approximately ten inches wide and thirteen
inches tall, eight of them, usually, published on the fifth and twentieth
of each month, and thus twenty-four times a year. The issues from 1956,
like each years production, were split between two volume numbers, in
this case the tenth and eleventh volumes in the series. Each new volume
started on the anniversary date of Volume I, Issue Number 1. Thus, Volume
10 of Chess Life ended with Issue 24 on August 20, 1956, while Volume
11 began with the next issue, on September 5, 1956.
|Chess Life began and ended 1956 with the same single issue cover
price: fifteen cents. USCF membership dues, including subscription to
Life, semi-annual publication of national chess rating, and all other
privileges, were set at a whopping five dollars a year. Subscription to
Life alone was three dollars annually. If you subscribed in 1956, you
sent your money to Kenneth Harkness, the Business Manager, in New York
City. Checks, like today, were made payable to the USCF. And the Editor
of Chess Life, the only editor during the papers first ten years
of existence, Montgomery Major, received directly all communications regarding
editorial matters at his home address in Oak Park, Illinois.
|Montgomery Major was himself a Dickensian character, in ways almost
a caricature of the curmudgeon editor, and would fully deserve an article
in his own right. His fights during the middle 1950s included an ongoing
battle, heated and uncompromising, with Norman T. Whitaker, who is himself
the subject of a recently released biography and games collection. Strong
willed and opinionated, Montgomery Major had a knack for making enemies
as well as friends. His own background is forgotten today, though for the
first ten years Chess Life was largely, if not solely, his creation.
He would have been the first to mention it, too. But during his last few
years with the newspaper, Majors tenure was anything but assured, both
from the perspective of other USCF officers and from his own. At one point,
late in 1954, when he felt he might be leaving soon, he finally offered
readers some insight into his life. Thus it is largely thanks to his own
writing that what little is known about him remains for us today.
|According to his own account appearing in the October 20, 1954, issue,
Major was born in Chicago and lived in the area most of his life, though
time and opportunities also sent him around the country. He originally
was expected to earn a law degree, but instead he exhibited his
natural perversity early in life by concentrating on Romance languages
and literature instead. Major played for the Harvard chess team before
leaving school and becoming an assistant editor for a community newspaper.
He later was an editor for a juvenile book publisher, and later still edited
Life and Store Equipment and Supplies, two trade publications.
He would also serve time as a Sears, Roebuck copy writer and even work
in the accounting department of the Pullman Company.
|Majors associations with chess were largely organizational in nature,
rather than as a player. As he wrote it, speaking of himself in the third
person, for eight years he was Executive Secretary of the Chicago City
Chess League, while simultaneously active as Secretary or Vice-President
of the Illinois State Chess Association.
He was one of the organizing
directors of the American Chess Federation (a fore-runner of the U.S. Chess
Federation). George Sturgis, President of the USCF, in early 1941 persuaded
Major to edit the USCF Yearbooks, and he did so in 1941, and 1944 through
1946, before being asked to design and edit Chess Life. Major also
made it a point to note, at the end of his article, that he no longer
|Such was the background of the man directing matters during the first
decade of the USCFs newspaper. Majors presence in the newspaper was even
more pervasive than simply his editorial control, as he also wrote columns
under pseudonyms, most notably as William Rojam, or Major, spelled
backwards. In the January 5, 1956, issue, Majors editorial column was
devoted to slamming those who felt they could influence policy decisions
for Chess Life. That the ones seeking to influence those policy
decisions happened to be the other officers of the USCF made no difference
to Major. As is the case even today, nearly forty-five years later, the
role of Chess Life was coming into question. Should the newspaper
be the voice of the organization, in close step with the views of the officers
of the Federation, or should it be an independent entity, free to criticize
the very organization that gave it life and breath? Major, for one, left
no doubt as to his own view. There have been attempts, Major wrote, to
stifle the independent voice of Chess Life, and it is no secret
that prior to the USCF annual meeting at Long Beach the USCF Ways and Means
Committee made a futile and clandestine attempt to replace the Editor with
someone more subservient to their mandates. This conspiracy to gag Chess
Life failed; and other like attempts will fail just so long as the
membership at large combines in insisting upon an independent voice, representing
them equally with management. Apparently Major viewed the role of Chess
Life as that of an independent entity, free to condemn or applaud management,
membership, or any other interest group associated with chess in the United
States. What he didnt seem to understand, however, was the deep resentment
engendered in those who felt Major used Chess Life as his own soapbox,
draping his own biases and political views with the protective cloak of
freedom of the press. By the end of 1956, and in part due to a membership
tired of the bickering and infighting seen among its officers, Major would
resign his position, and with the start of 1957 Fred Wren would take his
|But well beyond the idiosyncrasies of its editor, Chess Life
offered members of the USCF information about the international, national,
and local doings of the chess world. And today, for the chess historian,
these early issues of the Federations newspaper magazine offer insight
into the times and culture of chess, invaluable in their richness and texture.
|One feature in the early Chess Life quite popular with readers
was the Whats the Best Move? column, a column that under various guises
and editorships has continued for many years. At the start of 1956 the
column was conducted by Russell Chauvenet, of Silverspring, Maryland. Curiously
enough, it happens to be Chauvenets own copies of Chess Life for
1956 that I now own, and in fact I have had extensive communication with
Mr. Chauvenet, who still lives in Silverspring, and who has been quite
helpful concerning a wide variety of chess history projects. For his January
5, 1956, column, which appeared on the first page of the newspaper, Chauvenet
offered the following position:
Position Number 176
Back to play
|And that was it. No alternative moves. No hints. Readers were asked
to send their solutions directly to Chauvenets home address. Later in
the year Irwin Sigmond took over the column. For contemporary readers of
Life, solutions generally appeared three issues later, in this case
in the February 20, 1956 issue. The solution to the position above appears
at the end of this article.
|Of course, each issue of Chess Life would have a lead story.
In the first issue of the year the major headline read Mednis Takes Collegiate,
and the story involved the victory by a then young New York University
student by the name of Edmar Mednis, who won the United States Intercollegiate
Championship title with a score of 5½-1½ on tiebreak over
Fordham University student Anthony Saidy. There are, of course, occasional
problems and contradictions in any such source that need correcting. Here,
in the first paragraph of the story, Mednis is referred to as a freshman,
while in the very next paragraph we read that Mednis is a sophomore in
chemical engineering at the Bronx campus of New York University. Whichever
college class he belonged to, Mednis had already begun to build a solid
chess reputation for himself, winning the New York State Championship that
year and the year before finishing as runner up in the World Junior Championship.
The Intercollegiate Championship, that year an individual rather than a
team event, was held in John Jay Hall at Columbia University, and was sponsored
by the Intercollegiate Chess League, the USCF, and Columbia University.
President of the Intercollegiate Chess League at the time was another very
strong, young player named Eliot Hearst. Twenty-six players competed from
seventeen universities, and in addition to Mednis and Saidy, anyone reading
the list of participants might well notice the name of Shelby Lyman, then
a Harvard University student, who in fact defeated Mednis in the third
round. Saidy would win a rapid transit tournament played during the same
intercollegiate event, scoring a perfect 11-0 to win first prize, a $12.50
gift certificate. Both Hermann Helms reporting for the New York Times,
and Robert Cantwell, for Sports Illustrated, followed the college
tournament. Such details, of course, without a source like Chess Life,
would be lost to the ages. So to would be lost the obvious hint that anyone
interested in writing about this college event should also check back issues
of the Times as well as Sports Illustrated. The next issue,
January 20, 1956, ran on its front page a picture of Mednis playing Charles
Witte of Columbia. The back page of the same issue ran the entire Swiss
System crosstable for the twenty-six player event. Later issues would include
annotated games from the tournament.
|Another story running on the front page involved the curious attempt
by Argentine players Panno, Najdorf, and Pilnik to introduce a prepared
variation in the Sicilian Defense against Geller, Keres, and Spassky, respectively,
in the 1955 Goteborg, Sweden, Inter-Zonal tournament. Unfortunately for
the players from South America, a counter preparation had been cooking
in the Soviet camp all along. The key position follows:
Position after 12
|All three games had reached this position by way of 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3
d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.fxg5
Nfd7 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Qh5+ Kf8. At this point, all three Soviets played
the startling 13.Bb5!, and as reported in Chess Life, this
was the Russian coup, placing the problem bishop where it will hurt, and
threateningmaybemate. Up to this point the conspiring Argentinians and
clairvoyant Russians (all three games) were playing the same game. Now,
however, Geller - Panno veered off from the other two games, finishing
up quickly with 14.Bg3 Bxg5 15.0-0+ Ke7 16.Bxe5 Qb6+ 17.Kh1 dxe5 18.Qf7+
Kd6 19.Rad1+ Qd4 20.Rxd4+ exd4 21.e5+ Kc5 22.Qc7+ Nc6 23.Bxc6 1-0.
The other two games continued twinning, until the following position was
Position after 22
|The two games had proceeded as follows: 13...Kg7 14.0-0 Ne5 15.Bg3
Ng6 16.gxh6+ Rxh6 17.Rf7+ Kxf7 18.Qxh6 axb5 19.Rf1+ Ke8 20.Qxg6+ Kd7 21.Rf7
Nc6 22.Nd5 Rxa2. Now, finally, Keres Najdorf went its own way with
Qh8 24.Nxe7 Nxe7 25.Qg5 1-0, while Geller Panno took a slightly longer
route: 23.h3 Qh8 24.Nxe7 Nxe7 25.Qg5 Ra1+ 26.Kh2 Qd8 27.Qxb5+ Kc7 28.Qc5+
Kb8 29.Bxd6+ Ka8 30.Bxe7 Ra5 31.Qb4 1-0. The result, as it turned out,
was a 3-0 shellacking of the Argentine contingent.
|Other events were of course also mentioned, including the Second Rosenwald
tournament, held December 18, 1955 through January 2, 1956, and won jointly
by twenty-seven year old Arthur Bisguier and Larry Evans, then only twenty-four.
Both players would be awarded the International Grandmaster title the following
year. The Second Rosenwald was a double round affair, with a mere eleven
games out of thirty having decisive results. The other contestants, in
their order of final finish, were Reshevsky, Horowitz, Shipman, and Lombardy.
|The last named, William Lombardy, had only the month before turned
eighteen, on December 4, 1955. The next year he would win his International
Masters title, with the Grandmaster title following three years after
that. Following the conclusion of the Second Rosenwald tournament, however,
Lombardy was a guest annotator for perhaps the most popular of all Chess
Life columns in 1956, John Collins Games by USCF Members. Two of
Lombardys efforts as an annotator appeared in the first issue of 1956,
and help show the diversity of play appearing then in the newspaper.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5
Franklin S. Howard Dr. Juan Gonzáles
(Marshall Chess Club vs. Capablanca Chess
Clubs) USA New York, NY
|We have now reached a standard position in the Rauzer Attack.
7...bxc6 8.e5 Qa5
|An over-aggressive continuation which should lead to a slightly better
position for Black.
|Also good is 8...dxe5 9.Qf3. White cannot exchange Queens because he
would be a pawn down. 9...Be7 10.Qxc6+ Bd7 11.Qf3 Rb8 and Black is slightly
better because his development is better, he is active on the b-file, and
he controls necessary central squares.
11.Qf3! Rb8 12.Bd2! Qc7 13.0-0-0!
|This move practically loses by force. Best is 10...b4 and if 11.Ne4
Qe5! 12.Qe2 Bb7 13.fxg7 Bxg7 14.Nf6+! Bxf6 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 or (15...Qxe2+
16.Kxe2 Rg8) 16.Qb5+ Kf8 17.Qxb7 Qe5+ 18.Kd2 Qd4+ 19.Kc1 Kg7 and Black
has the upper hand.
|Black, as will presently be seen, is completely lost. He is vulnerable
on both open center files and on his f6 and e7 squares. He is also sorrowfully
lagging in this development.
14...a6 15.Rhe1 g6 16.Qg4 Rc8 17.Be3 h5 18.Qh4 Bxg2 19.Kb1
Bb7 20.Ka1 d5
|Threatening both Rhe1 and Qxb5+.
21...Bxd5 22.Rxd5 Qxc2 23.Rdd1 Qf5 24.Qd4 Qd5 25.Qxd5
exd5 26.Rxd5 Bb4 27.Bd2+ 1-0.
|A deadly stroke which brings the game to a neat and swift conclusion.
There is no defense.
Chess Life, January 5, 1956, p.6
|And here is the second game then United States Master Lombardy annotated
for the same issue, the winner having been awarded the International Master
title the year before:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d4
Frank R. Anderson Maurice Fox
Spanish: Closed (Center Attack)
(Canadian Championship) CAN Ottawa
|Keres questions this move because it opens up the game prematurely,
but since it is a rare sidelight of the main line of the Ruy, it may be
used as an effective surprise against an unwary adversary, besides which
there is no disadvantage incurred by White for playing 5.d4.
|Relatively best. 5...Nxe4 is also playable, but 5...Nxe4 leads
to trouble after 6.Qe2 f5 7.d5 Nb8 8.Nxe5 Qf6 9.Nd3 Be7 10.Bf4 b5 11.Bb3
7.e5 Ne4 8.Nxd4 0-0 9.Nf5 d6?!
|6...Nxe4 7.Re1 d5 8.Nxd4 Bd7 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.f3 etc.
11.Nxe7+ Qxe7 12.Re1 d5 13.f3
|9...d5 should be played without loss of time since this move is forced
by White eventually.
|White quickly seizes the initiative by driving out Black's advanced
|13...Ng5 might be better because after 14.b3 Rd8 15.Ba3 c5 Black's
d-pawn is defended.
15.Ba3 c5 16.Qxd5 Rb8 17.Nc3 Bb7
|Now Black loses a pawn but he could not allow the devastating pin on
the knight with Ba3.
18.Qd2 Rfd8 19.Qe3
|White is a pawn ahead and has fully completed his development. There
should be no problem in winning and White proves this by his remarkable
technique which masters the position.
19...Rd4 20.Rad1 Rbd8 21.Rxd4 Nxd4
|Relentless in applying the pressure on Black's position.
|21...cxd4 does not help. 22.Bxe7 and White wins the exchange.
22...Nxc2 23.Qxc5 Rxd1+
|The winning move. White threatens Rxd4 and if the knight retreats the
24.Nxd1 Qxc5+ 25.Bxc5 a5 26.Kf2
|Trading off into a completely lost endgame due to the unfortunate position
of the Black knight. But in this kind of position one is not too anxious
to waste his time and therefore submits to the inevitable...
27.Nc3 c6 28.f4
|The knight is completely without communications. 26...Ba6 One might
note in this position that Black also cannot do very much with his King
except wait for the ax to fall.
28...g5 29.f5 h5 30.Ne4 Nb4 31.Bxb4 axb4 32.Ke3 Bc8 33.Nd6
Ba6 34.Kd4 Kf8 35.Kc5 Bf1 36.g3 Bd3 37.Kxb4 1-0.
|Giving Black no counter chances whatsoever. What for? Black will eventually
hang himself! There need be no further comment.
Chess Life, January 5, 1956
|The Collins column offered usually four or more well annotated games
an issue, and at times the games were annotated by one of the players involved.
Here is another example, with the winner, Herzberger, offering the notes:
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 6.Nxc6
Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 bxc6
Erich W. Marchand Max J. Herzberger
English: Four Knights
(Rochester City Championship) USA Rochester,
8.Qd4 Qe7 9.Bg5 c5 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.Qe4+?
|The books recommend ...dxc6 with equality, but I did not relish the
sequence: 7...dxc6 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Ba3 with 10.0-0-0+ to follow. On the
other hand, the text continuation, if followed by 7...bxc6 8.Ba3 d6 9.c5
d5 gives Black as recompense for the pawn structure good squares for all
his pieces, and, as I thought a playable game after 10...Qe7, etc. White
discarded the book maneuver too, because he felt the bishop had little
scope on the queenside.
11...Kd8 12.Qd3 Rb8 13.e4 Re8 14.f3 Rb6 15.Be2 Qg5 16.Kf2
|Too rash! 11.Qcf6 would have led to an even game; now Black gets the
17.Qd5 Rg6 18.g3 fxe4 19.Qxg5+ Rxg5 20.f4 Rf5 21.Ke3
|Wins a pawn, but gives White great counter-play which he uses very
cleverly. Correct was 16...Rd6 for instance 17.Qe3 (best) 17...Qxe3+ 18.Kxe3
f5 winning the pawn with overwhelming play. If now 19.Rab1 fxe4 20.Rb8
exf3+ 21.Kxf3 Rf6+ etc.
21...Rf6 22.Rab1 Rb6 23.Rhd1 Bb7 24.a4! c6 25.a5 Rxb1
26.Rxb1 Kc7 27.Ra1 a6 28.Rb1
|The picture has changed. The threat to the e-pawn gives White more
territory and powerful counter-play which Black has to meet with great
28...d5 29.Rb6 Rd8 30.Bg4
|White created a weakness for Black on b6, but Black has an iron in
the fire, by preparing the victorious advance of the center pawns.
30...g6 31.Be2 Rd6 32.Rb1 Bc8 33.Rd1 h5 34.Rd2 Be6 35.Bf1
|If instead 30.cxd5 cxd5 31.Bxa6 d4+! but after the text move Black
gets more of the White squares.
|So far, so good; but how shall Black proceed?
36.cxd5 cxd5 37.Bxa6 Ra8 38.Bb5 Rxa5 39.Be8
|The only move, threatening ...Rb8 and winning in all variations.
39...Ra3 40.Bxg6 Rxc3+ 41.Ke2
41...Bg4+ 42.Ke1 d4
|A good try, but the center pawns now carry the day. There is no saving
move. 39.c4 is answered by 39...Rh3+.
44.Rc2 Rxc2 45.Bxc2 c4 46.Bd1 Bxd1 47.Kxd1 d3 48.h3 c3
|The e-pawn cannot be taken, because of ...Re3+.
|The continuation could be: 48...c3 49.f5 e2+ 50.Ke1 c2 51.Kd2 e1Q+
52.Kxe1 c1Q+ etc.
Chess Life, January 5, 1956, p6
|The early Chess Life issues also include a wealth of information
explaining matters not directly apparent from the game scores now available
in the huge, commercially available computer databases. For example, in
the following position, anyone playing over the game from a database score
may well wonder why the great Samuel Reshevsky overlooked a mate in one:
Position after 39
Second Rosenwald Tournament
New York 1955
|Reshevsky missed 40.Qg8 mate, playing instead
and the game continued another twenty-three moves before the older player
scored the full point. Why? Chess Life explains: The failure of
Reshevsky to checkmate his opponent by 40. Qg8 has caused considerable
comment; the oversight came when Reshevsky was hard pressed for time, his
fortieth move simultaneously with his turn to play. With Evan's reply the
game was adjourned for further play.
|In addition to offering explanations such as the above, the early issues
of Chess Life also provide a rich source for materials that might
well be lost, including games by one-time United States champions. For
example, Herman Steiner, who had won the national title in August 1948
playing at South Fallsburg, in what was admittedly one of the weaker national
title tournaments of the times, died suddenly while playing in the California
State Championship on November 25, 1955, in Los Angeles. Chess Life
gave Steiners final chess game, finished a mere two hours before his death.
Chances are the following game doesnt appear in any of the million game
plus databases that exist nowadays, despite the game being a very hard
fought draw against future International Master William Addison, who would
turn twenty-two a mere three days after Steiners death. As Major wrote
of it in the pages of Chess Life, this stubborn struggle, ending
in a hard-fought draw, was the final game played by Herman Steiner in the
California State Championship; he died two hours after finishing this game.
The State Tournament in which he was participating was cancelled by the
wish of the other players as a gesture of sorrow. The only other major
tournament that was ever left unfinished, as far as the records show, was
the Mannheim Tournament in 1914, interrupted by the inception of World
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.e3 c6 6.Qc2 Be7
7.Rd1 0-0 8.Nf3 Re8 9.Be2 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nd5 11.Bxe7 Rxe7 12.0-0 Nf8 13.e4
Nb6 14.Bb3 Bd7 15.Ne5 Be8 16.Ne2 Rc8 17.Nd3 Rec7 18.Qd2 Qh4 19.Qe3 Nbd7
20.Rc1 b6 21.Bc4 c5 22.d5 exd5 23.Bxd5 Nf6 24.Nc3 Ng4 25.Qg3 Qxg3 26.hxg3
Nf6 27.Bc4 Bc6 28.f3 Rd7 29.Ne5 Re7 30.Nxc6 Rxc6 31.Rfd1 Rc8 32.Nb5 Ne8
33.a4 Ne6 34.e5 Kf8 35.f4 g6 36.Rd2 a6 37.Nd6 Rd8 38.Bxa6 Nxd6 39.exd6
Red7 40.Rcd1 Nd4 41.Kf2 Rxd6 42.Bc4 Ra8 43.b3 h5 44.Re1 Rad8 45.Red1 Ke7
46.Rd3 Kf6 47.R1d2 R8d7 48.Ra2 Nf5 49.Rxd6+ Nxd6 50.Bd3 Nb7 51.Bc4 Rd4
52.Ke3 Nd6 53.Bd3 Rb4 54.Ra3 Nf5+ 55.Kf2 h4 56.gxh4 Rxf4+ 57.Kg1 Rb4 58.a5
bxa5 59.Rxa5 Rxb3 60.Bxf5 Kxf5 61.Rxc5+ Kg4
Herman Steiner William Addison
Queens Gambit Declined: Orthodox (Rubinstein)
(California State Championship) USA Los
|Steiners very last chess move in this world.
Chess Life, January 5, 1956
|Anyone reading carefully may well have guessed by now that every game
and position in this article appeared in the January 5, 1956, issue of
Life. And in presenting them I have not exhausted the games and problems
appearing in that one issue, let alone the stories and commentary surrounding
the play and players from over forty-four years ago. What I wanted to illustrate
is in fact just what riches do appear in the early
Chess Life newspapers,
each issue of which offers extraordinary details for the person interested
in chess history. Long forgotten photographs also appear in nearly every
issue. The issues of 1956, for example, offer at least three photographs
of a very young Bobby Fischer, ones rarely seen today. Though grainy and
difficult to preserve from the issues, they are nevertheless interesting
to see (for the studious, they appear in the following issues: July 20,
1956, p.6; August 20, 1956, p.7; and December 5, 1956, p.3). A quick survey
of the issues from 1956 alone suggests that over 110 games were included
deeply annotated, along with another 40 or more unannotated games. In addition,
over 120 chess problems appeared during the year. Multiply these numbers
times fifteen, the number of volumes appearing in newspaper format, and
it becomes clear what a rich source of material this vast storehouse of
|The problem is the vast storehouse is crumbling away, and the remains
are in danger of becoming available only to those who travel significant
distances to visit research centers such as the John G. White Collection,
housed in the Cleveland Public Library. Even the holdings at the White
Collection, which I have seen, are in serious need of attention. Money
is rarely available for such projects, even for the greatest chess collection
in the world. The paper used for the early newspaper version of Chess
Life was very poor. Issues still around today are usually yellow with
age, brittle, and ready to collapse into the dust of time, taking with
them easy access to our games American chess history, certainly from 1946
through 1960, the years when Chess Life appeared in newspaper format.
|Conservation methods are needed, and needed soon, if this marvelous
source of American chess history is to remain readily available for generations
to come. Ideally, forms of preservation such as microfilming and the creation
of computer CDs should be used. Imagine every issue of Chess Life,
from September 1946 to 1960, or even to the present, housed on a few, small
compact disks! Whether anyone, including the financially strapped USCF,
might ever come forth with such a project, remains to be seen. In the meantime
all we can do is try and preserve as best as possible the paper issues
that still remain. And hope, of course, that some way to conserve this
important record of our own recent chess past is eventually found.
|Solution to Whats the Best Move? Position Number 176: taken
from Crisovan Naef, Luzerne 1953 1...Nxf1 Incorrect is 1...Nd4
in view of 2.Qxd2 and now Black's winning chances are negligible. 2.Bxd6
Nd4! 3.exd4 To be sure, White can prolong the game by 3.Rxc8 Nxe2+
4.Kxf1 Rxc8 5.Kxe2 Rc2+ but Black's advantage of the exchange is quite
enough to win. 3...Rxc1 4.Qb2 Ng3+ 5.Qxc1 Ne2+ 0-1.
Chess Life, February 20, 1956,
© John S. Hilbert 2001 All Rights Reserved